Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Study: political beliefs may influence where people move, help deepen rural-urban political divide

Republican vote in counties of 20,000 or more from 2004
 to 2016; click on the image to enlarge it. (Penn State maps)
When people living in an extremely partisan county move to a new county, they tend to pick one with the same political atmosphere, according to a newly published study by Pennsylvania State University researchers. The study did not include counties with fewer than 20,000 residents.

"People moving from moderate partisan counties are just as likely to move to extreme partisan counties as they are to move to other moderate counties. However, people who live in a politically extreme county are significantly likely to move to a similarly extreme county," according to a Penn State press release. "This type of political sorting might turn extreme counties into 'magnets' that pull people from moderate counties and exchange them with other extreme counties."

The migration patterns shown in the study could contribute to the growing political divide in the U.S., according to study co-author Bruce Desmarais, a political science professor. When people self-sort politically, they're less likely to encounter differing points of view. He notes that other factors such as jobs still play a larger role in decisions about where to move.

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